Clean Your Dryer ASAP

The number one reason to clean your dryer and keep it clean is to prevent fires. However, there’s more to cleaning your dryer than just cleaning the lint trap. Read on to learn why you should clean your dryer, how to properly clean it, and how often you should do a thorough cleaning.

clean your dryer

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the “leading items first ignited in dryer fires were dust, fiber or lint, and clothing.”

In four years (2010-2014) United States fire departments responded to almost 16,000 house fires which caused injuries and deaths and about $240 million in property damage.

Ninety-two percent of those fires were caused by clothes dryers.

How to clean your dryer

There is more to cleaning your dryer than just cleaning out the lint trap, although that is a very important step and should be done every time the drying process is finished.

Be sure to read about how to keep your washing machine clean, too!

Clean your dryer lint trap

I’ve made it a habit that whenever I take my laundry out of the dryer, I clean out the lent trap, too.

A clean lint trap prevents fires because it allows for better airflow. Better airflow improves the speed of the drying time, too. The shorter time you’re running your appliance, the cheaper your energy bill will be. Win-win!

How to:

Remove the mesh lint trap and scrape away any lint that’s built up on the screen as well as along the sides.

If you use dryer sheets and/or fabric softeners, residue from these products can build up on the mesh lint trap. To remove this, use an old toothbrush dipped in warm soapy water and scrub the screen. Allow the mesh lint trap to dry completely before putting it back in the dryer.

cleaning the lint trap with a toothbrush
cleaned lint trap

Make sure you get down inside the lint trap, too. Wipe as much as possible with a microfiber cloth, then vacuum inside with a small vacuum cleaner attachment.

dirty lint trap
clean lint trap

Clean the dryer drum

Residue from dryer sheets and fabric softeners can build up on the dryer drum, too. Removing this is easy and should be done once a month. In a spray bottle, mix equal parts white vinegar and water and spray the dryer drum. Wipe the drum clean with a microfiber cloth and leave the door open to let the dryer air dry completely.

cleaning the dryer drum

Clean the vent ducts

Dryer vent ducts also need regular cleaning to prevent fires. Lint and debris can get clogged in the ducts, which prevents airflow and makes your machine extremely unsafe.

How to

Unplug your dryer and pull it away from the wall. Disconnect the exhaust hose from the back of the dryer (you might need a screwdriver). You should expect to see a lot of lint and debris in there. Use your hand to remove as much as possible or use a brush cleaner, then vacuum the rest of the lint away.

While you have the exhaust hose off, remove the back panel of your dryer. If you see any lint, vacuum it up with a small nozzle vacuum attachment. Replace the panel and the exhaust hose.

How often you should clean your dryer

Cleaning your dryer regularly will not only prevent fires, it will cut down on your energy bill every year as well as keep your machine running smoothly for years to come.

So how often should you clean your dryer?

After every load: Clean your dryer lint trap after every load. Make it a habit to scrape away the lint either before or after you remove the laundry from the dryer.

Once a month: The dryer drum should be wiped clean with the vinegar and water spray at at least once a month, especially if you use dryer sheets and/or fabric softener.

Once every three months: Your dryer needs a deep and thorough cleaning about four times a year. Clean and vacuum out the exhaust hose and the back of the machine following the above instructions.

To make this simpler, make it a habit to deep clean your dryer at the start of a new season.

Maintaining your dryer will keep you and your family safer, lower your energy bill, and keep your machine running smoothly for years.

How often do you clean your dryer?

Looking for more cleaning tips? I recommend these:
Homemade Powdered Laundry Detergent
Pretreating Stains with Baking Soda
11 Things You’re Forgetting to Clean in Your Bedroom
Cleaning Your Mattress the Right Way

pin it for later
how to clean your dryer pin
how to clean your dryer pin

Thank you for sharing!
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51 thoughts on “Clean Your Dryer ASAP”

  1. Thanks for the tips. I am not great about remembering to do any of this. Even emptying the lint trap I let go longer than I should. I will try to implement these into my routine. By the way, I did clean my washing machine drum this weekend, thanks to you!

    1. When my mom moved into her new house the dryer vent and exhaust hose were full of lint and debris. I don’t know how it didn’t catch on fire! After seeing that I made it a habit to clean my lint trap out every time. πŸ™‚
      I’m so glad I inspired you to clean your washing machine drum this weekend! πŸ˜€

  2. This is a really important topic, Michelle, and you have covered it perfectly from every angle. A lot of people genuinely don’t know how high the risk of a house fire is when the lint and debris build up is heavy in their vent pipe. I’ve seen some devastating fires start from this very cause.

    I agree with you – cleaning the lint trap after every load helps a ton. It becomes such a second nature habit that you don’t even really think about it any more. I haven’t been cleaning the drum though so your tip is right on time. I’ll be trying this very soon. πŸ™‚

    As always, you’ve knocked it out of the park. Great tips my friend. My bet is you’ll prevent some people from having tragedy strike their home! All my love to you! β™₯

    1. When my mom moved into her new house the exhaust pipe was blocked up with lint and debris. It was almost as if the people that lived there before had no idea that you were supposed to clean it and never had. It was scary! My parents cleaned it out really well before they ever used the dryer thank goodness. After seeing that I make sure I keep my vent trap clean!
      I’m glad you found cleaning the drum helpful. Honestly, it wasn’t something I really thought was necessary, but the build-up can be kinda gross even if you can’t see it.
      Thank you so much!! I hope you have a wonderful week! Hugs and love!

  3. I clean my dryer after every use! I used to worry about my dad’s dryer catching fire because he never cleaned his lint filter! That was a good incentive for me to check his filter and clean it out whenever I would visit him!

  4. Great tip on keeping your dryer vent clean. I even had to hire someone to help clean my dryer vent out, because it ran vertically straight up to my roof. There was debris stuck about 8 feet up, further than even my shop vac hose could reach.

    1. Oh wow!! I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that went straight up to the roof like that. I’m glad you were able to get it cleaned out so you were safe. πŸ™‚

    1. You’re welcome! I knew they could catch on fire, but I honestly had no idea how many house fires were caused by dryers until I checked the stats. Shocking!

  5. Another place to clean that people often forget is the outlet vent cover on the outside of the house if you have a grate on it to keep the critters out. If it is just a flap, it isn’t as common, but if there is a hatched grate, lint can get stuck in it and block it up, causing dryer to performance to become reduced at a minimum and possibly cause a fire at worst.

  6. I learned some new stuff here!! Never really considered cleaning out more than just the lint trap, and even that thing I struggle to remember doing each time! My family gives me a hard time and says they could make a blanket out of it sometimes…

    Cleaning the drum regularly I’m definitely gonna start doing but the air ducts I’ll probably slack😬

    1. I see a blog post in your future of all the things you’ve made out of dryer lint! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
      I’m glad you learned something new. πŸ˜€

  7. You’re right, this is so important! I used to put a load of wash in the dryer right before bedtime, but then I read up on house fires caused by dryers — no more! It scared me so much! Also if the dryer is on during the day and we have to run out for any reason, we stop the cycle.

    1. It is scary! I never dry my clothes at night, either. That’s great that you don’t run it while you’re gone either. I do the same because I’m terrified I’ll come home to a burned down house.

  8. I have to admit, it never occurred to me to clean my dryer beyond the lint trap. Gross! Definitely making that a priority from here on out. Thanks for the great information!

  9. I clean the lint catcher every time, and clean the hose once per season. I never thought of wiping out the inside of the dryer. Thanks for the heads up, and for supporting me on my blog.

    1. That’s great! I think the hose and lint traps are the biggest causes of fires when they are stopped up. You’re welcome! And thank you for your support as well! It means a lot to me!

  10. Thank you so much for this! I had no idea I needed to clean the drum. I do empty the fluff out of the filter and empty the water after each use but don’t do any cleaning inside πŸ˜€

  11. Great tips here Michelle! I always clean the lint trap but the vent hose is an impossible item to clean on this machine. The washer and dryer are a single unit and it’s tucked in a spot there’s no way to get behind it and no way to pull it out. Kind of an odd situation. Might have to find someone that can vacuum out the hose from the outside, it really isn’t that long. Hmm, guess I need to clean the drum too!

    1. Thank you so much! Maybe since the hose isn’t so long it will be easy to vacuum from the outside. And hopefully, it’s lint-free and doesn’t need cleaning at all. πŸ˜€

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